The Finnish drummer and percussionist Karo Sampela has made a long career in Finland playing a vast variety of musical styles from balkan folklore with Slobo Horo to hip hop with finnish rapper Paleface.
Since moving to Spain in the year 2007, Sampela has been concentrating mostly on flamenco, working with some of the world's best known flamenco dancers and leading dance companies including Compañía Rafaela Carrasco, Rojas y Rodríguez/Nuevo Ballet Español, Finland based Compañía Kaari Martin, Swiss Flamencos En Route as well as with flamenco fusion groups like José Torres Trío, Camerata Flamenco Project or Flamenco Jazz Company. Sampela has performed in five continents and in more than twenty-five countries. He has also performed in many award winning dance pieces as a live musician or playing on the soundtrack. Sampela has also composed and recorded music for some flamenco dance pieces like “Párrafos” of Girasol Flamenco and “Sum...” of Maija Lepistö & Katerina La Greca.
Sampela began his professional musical career in the mid nineties playing and recording in Tampere, Finland with local pop and world music groups. In 1999 he moved to Helsinki, the capital of Finland, to study in then the only pop & jazz conservatory in Finland. Living in Helsinki 1999-2007 he was very demanded drummer and got to play with many top acts of Finland, including Paleface, Bomfunk MC's, Waldo's People and Janina Frostell.
Along playing with pop acts, Sampela was maintaining his close relation with world music, especially flamenco, and in the beginning of 2007 Sampela decided to move to Seville, Spain in order to concentrate exclusively on flamenco. There he studied cajón with some of the best flamenco percussionists like Ramon Porrina, Israel Suárez “El Piraña” or Sergio Martínez and got to work as a percussionist with some of the best known dancers like Juana Amaya and Manuel Liñán. In 2008 he started to work with Switzerland based contemporary flamenco dance company Flamencos En Route as a percussionist. Meanwhile gigging with Flamencos En Route, Sampela continued building his career in Spain. As his fame as a good musician grew in Madrid, in 2010 he decided to move to the Spanish capital and leave Flamencos En Route. The same year Sampela was also hired to play percussion in the house band of a television program called Mi Primer Olé which was on air in Canal Sur three months in the summer of 2010.
In Madrid Sampela has become one of the most in-demand flamenco percussionists and drummers, working with some of the best known flamenco dance companies as Compañía Rafaela Carrasco and Rojas y Rodríguez/Nuevo Ballet Español as well as with flamenco fusion groups like Camerata Flamenco Project, José Torres Trío and Flamenco Jazz Company or with revolutionary flamenco guitarist Juan Antonio Suárez “Cano” and flamenco singer Rafael Jiménez “Falo”. During his career Sampela has made dozens of TV appearances mostly in Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and Spanish National Television (RTVE), but also in international television as MTV Nordic or NRK. In 2012 Sampela had an opportunity to record to Camerata Flamenco Project's “Avant Garde” album with former Paco De Lucía & Chick Corea sideman Jorge Pardo, awarded as Best European Jazz Musician, by the French Jazz Academy in 2013. In may 2014 Sampela participated in a production by Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman) with Lebanese classical singer Hiba Al Kawas, Spanish classical guitarist José María Gallardo del Rey, Saudi Arabian singer Amdulrahman Mohammed, the Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir and the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Axelrod.
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